PODCASTS
Advertising on podcasts and online audio media has tripled: IAB research

The number of media agencies using podcast advertising regularly has nearly tripled in the last year (from 5% in December 2016 to 14% in December 2017).

A further seven in ten agencies are either experimenting with podcasting or looking to experiment with it this year.

The emergence of new audio advertising options “is invigorating the whole audio market with media buyers increasing their usage of all forms; broadcast, digital, streaming and podcasts over the last twelve months,” according to Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) CEO Vijay Solanki.

Solanki and a range of speakers from the audio industry presented the second wave of IAB Australia’s Audio Advertising State of the Nation research at a presentation to industry and advertising agencies this morning  in Sydney.

Two thirds of audio is now being bought by the same advertising agency teams, according to Gai Le Roy, Director of Research at IAB Australia, with digital audio advertising no longer being seen as ‘experimental’ or ‘digital,’ but rather, being integrated with other audio advertising platforms such as radio.

According to Solanki and Le Roy, this is good for the whole audio industry, due to the increased interest in advertising on audio platforms. “For those buying audio, there is increased intention to buy more in the next 12 months, across music streaming, new audio formats and radio… everyone wants to try everything” said Le Roy.

“With 13.6 million Australians streaming audio content on their digital device in December 2017, it follows that the buying community is continuing to increase investment in streaming ad opportunities. With the explosion of podcasting at both a content & consumer levels, I expect to see more brands stepping in but the opportunity is in brand integration and not spots and dots. It’s also good to see integration of audio happening as agencies have been asking for that for over a year,” said Solanki.

In the USA, podcasting ad revenues are expected to reach over $220 million in 2017, an 85% increase from 2016. This growth trajectory is expected to follow in the Australian market with the research revealing that agencies are looking to trial different forms of podcasting advertising in 2018; with many looking at integrated native options and bespoke podcasts for brands.

Within podcasts, native audio (live reads) is popular as are pre/post and mid-roll ads and bespoke branded podcasts.

There are high satisfaction levels for buying audio, according to the research. “Cost effectiveness is high. Brand awareness and promotions are popular and the market says it is very cost effective,” said Le Roy.

Voice marketing strategies (speaking to and searching with your smart speaker) is on the radar, but understanding of these services is low at the moment according to the research.

“Last year the biggest challenge was understanding the products, technology and terminology, but now the discussion has moved on and is about return on investment and measurement, because the advertisers now understand the product. We have moved beyond the general to the tangible as far as advertisers are concerned.”

Creative is cutting through, standardising measurement is now helping cross-media audio planning to develop. Audio platforms are being seen as efficient and effective, according to the research.

Jacques Kaladchibachi, programmatic buying director for Accuen, a digital trading platform developed by Omnicom Media Group, presented figures from his company that showed that traditional radio buying is effective for reaching over 40 audiences and that programmatic enabled platform buying is strong with younger audiences.

Further developments to come for audio platforms include proximity data and behaviour data, including location services, which can allow advertisers to deliver ads for products relevant to you when you are driving, in transit on your way home from work, jogging, or exercising in your gym.

Ad serving has improved in the past year, moving many audio ads from being “site served” to being delivered by a “more dynamic server environment” that is better for targeting.

Sharon Taylor from Omny Studio and Andy Hayes from Placard Media, discussed creating and commercialising podcasts.

“There has been a massive amount of growth… 70% of people in Australia now know what a podcast is, and usage is growing,” said Taylor.

The power of podcasting lies in the following six areas, according to the pair:

  1. The power of audio – a high level of engagement, a captive audience who has chosen to listen to the content, and that listeners can multitask while consuming audio.
  2. The podcast consumer – a very personal experience, mostly via headphones. Podcasting is not passive, its not background noise, you have chosen to download and listen to that piece of audio so you are highly engaged.
  3. Ad engagement – people get just as engaged with the ads as they do with the content. Andy Hayes gave an example of Australian listeners to NPR America podcasts enquiring about the American products they are hearing about in the ads.
  4. Targeting – The huge range of podcasts out there offer something for everyone. An example concerned a podcasts targeting Australia’s 150 people who are tree arborists. It is a small audience, but there are companies with products which want to reach those people. “They could hire a marketing director for $150K to send direct mail and contact those clients through direct marketing, at further cost, but now those companies can talk to them via a gardening industry podcast for Arborists.
  5. High profile personalities – “you can use high profile people to help you build your brand,” Taylor told the audience of advertisers and agencies. They have already built trust with their audience. Even low profile personalities such as the hosts of the Arborist podcast will be “influencers in their own communities,” who will be valuable to advertisers.
  6. Creative options – hosts can be more creative with live reads, which can expand into the show.

The primary objectives for agencies that use podcasts are:

1. Increase brand awareness
2. Increase engagement
3. Support specific promotions

“It’s about finding the right fit. Daily or monthly? Which is most effective for which advertiser? You must think about your audio strategy carefully to make the right decisions,” said Taylor.

In a final panel discussion (picture above), four themes were covered:
Streaming: Dan Robins‎, Spotify
                      Creative: Tristan Viney, Eardrum
                      Agency: Jacques Kaladchibachi, Accuen
Podcasting: Sharon Taylor, Omny Studio

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